When good characters are forced to manifest their dark sides, they must face that nature and find the way to co-exist or destroy their evil completely. Tonight, an unlikely character is segregated and brings trouble to the doorstep of the Winchesters. That character is Charlie, and she’s back from Oz in this darkly whimsical tale mostly starring “Dark” Charlie, the short-haired revenger, out to rid the world of the one responsible for the death of her parents.
There was a solid dichotomy in both exploring Dark Charlie and Dean’s take on their inner struggles which provided a very strong theme all throughout. Felicia Day expands her role and provides a new dimension into her character as well as the fluffy and buoyant side of her that knows no evil. While this isn’t much of a difference to the character we’ve known in the past, Dark Charlie helps with the insight as well as the pain inflicted on her since she was young.
Dean is right to believe something is amiss when Charlie shows up, returned to Oz and beating up individuals that unwillingly help her trace down the killer of her parents. After spending a week cleansing himself through healthy eating and abstaining from drinking, Dean takes on this new case with a fiery gusto. Sam as usual is Sam backing his brother up and equally confused by Charlie’s actions. After a brief run in and escape, Good Charlie arrives and explains to the brothers how her adventure in Oz resulted in a dual persona.
Now immediately, all I could think was, why didn’t we get the coolest scenes showing how these events unfolded. Budget quietly answered me, but there was enough vivid explanation that made sense and moved the plot along accordingly. I struggled to imagine how an evil character gets to single-handedly destroy the opposing side of the warrior, especially given that Dark Charlie wasn’t given any magical enhancements. The truth is, who cares, she did the job and decided to take the next logical step in her way of thinking. What really sold this episode was Felicia’s ability to grow up and take that character down a path we weren’t expecting. It was a gold performance through and through.
On Dean’s side, we got more of the same shtick. His hand trembles and his brooding glare intensified while he attempts to maintain his casual demeanor all through the episode. What really helped spell out his insatiable bloodlust was how much he was hurting Dark Charlie despite knowing Good Charlie was suffering as well. Now, I know it makes me wonder if Dean can take out Dark Charlie, how did she manage to expel an entire army in Oz? I guess we’ll never know. Either way, it was a brutal match that fans likely never thought would happen.
Pushing into the Oz myth a bit further, we find the men of letters responsible for finding Oz was kidnapped and split into two with the darker side becoming the Wizard. I for one found that twist rather nice and clever departure from the normal tale that puts the Wizard in a higher alignment, much like Dorothy and the good witch of the North. One flaw in this setup was that the Wizard allowed his counterpart to exist on normal Earth where time moves rather more quickly. Wouldn’t it have made sense to keep him in Oz permanently? Not to mention, evil Wizard didn’t seem to be suffering much from the gunshot wound his alter ego absorbed. Or maybe that was just the magic keeping him unharmed. Fancy stuff with his green magic on subduing Sam. It was sad to see Good Charlie succumb to murdering the old man, but in a way it’s more of the tale on how we face ourselves and the things we must do either for the good of ourselves or others close to us.
The episode concludes with Charlie healing from Dean’s attack and she offers to help by tracking down a book related to Dean’s mark. Her tone is more serious save for her goodbye and it looks like we’ll be seeing her again, probably sooner than we think given that she seems dedicated in helping Dean absolve the darkness within him. She’s one of the few supporting characters this show has left and it will be interesting to see where they continue to take her, now that she’s elevated to a level that can be argued is near Castiel and Crowley’s spots. Maybe a season or two more would solidify her in that capacity. We’ll see.
If it weren’t for the major swerve in Dark Charlie’s murder, I would have gone for the scene that she and Ellis had together when he admitted his part in the death of her parents. It was very poignant and she sold that bitter sadness to a T. As great as that was, I actually enjoyed the fight between Dean and Dark Charlie more. It had the flare and flavor one would expect from two snarky characterizations and having never expected a scene like that to happen, I thought it was freshly delivered with all the drama associated with Good Charlie suffering unknowingly from the effects.
Yet again, I stray away from the main quartet and offer Dark Charlie as the most valuable player this week. She was a welcome departure from regular Charlie’s sassy and often repeated performances. Not that they’re stale, just a bit predictable given whenever a pretty girl comes around she has to make googily eyes or comment on the fact she’s into them every time. Even Dark Charlie used that to her advantage as she tricked Dean into thinking she left town. All in all, she provided a stellar performance and I’m kind of sad she’s not around anymore to further explore.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
I feel the mark and the issues it’s brought should be wrapping up in the next few episodes. They can drag it all the way to the end of the season, but there’s something else they can tell on the way that becomes more of a threat. The mark is a personal journey for Dean, but it doesn’t have to be the seasonal focal point. I’d say let’s get this one handled and move on to bigger and better plots.
I’m assuming that Dean will be back to burgers and booze by the next episode knowing that avoiding them did nothing to help his cause. It’s okay, stingy-kale-eating Dean isn’t as funny as Dean drowning in ketchup and fries.
Sam deserves something central to his character soon. It’s been a while since he showed some of his own inner workings and aside from his broken arm that was never really discussed, we haven’t seen him riddled with problems like Dean has been.
What would Falkor do?
If Oz comes into play again on this show, I’m saying it right now they need to do something with it. It’s incredibly left field, but their ideas on the world so far have been pretty good and I could see an entirely different take on the land that doesn’t replicate known literature or movies. I think they could make it stand out if they tried and were able to.
Not knowing Charlie was going to be on the show made it even better to watch as an unexpected bonus. She helped turn her character over in ways we hadn’t seen and her growth put this episode as easily the second best of the season so far. 8 out of 10. We’ll see Charlie again and Dean’s mark is still a fickle problem to deal with, but maybe things can look up if Dean believes it will. Going through bloodlust tirades continually is starting to get silly. He almost was the cause of a supporting character’s death and he felt that. Maybe he’ll get his act together and start fighting this in a way that makes sense. As always, there’s Metatron to fall back on if things get really messy. And odds are they will. We’re barely at the halfway point. Time to step things up Winchesters!
No more words